Side Strain Side Strain

Side Strain Side Strain

What is side strain?

Side strain is a condition that is typically seen in cricket bowlers, but can affect a variety of people. It is characterized by a tear in the side abdominal muscles, where it connects to the lower ribs. A side strain can happen suddenly, because of overstretching, or gradually over a period of time, due to excessive or repetitive movement. The strain commonly occurs because of sudden contraction of the internal oblique muscle. Activities synonymous with side strain include: bowling, throwing, heavy lifting, rowing, side sit ups, twisting, turning and side bending.


Patients commonly feel a sudden, sharp pain or pulling sensation in the side of the chest or abdomen during vigorous activity. Symptoms can include:

  • Muscle pain or soreness
  • Stiffness and discomfort
  • Problems flexing or stretching muscle
  • Pain when touching the area
  • Muscle spasms
  • Swelling
  • Bruising


Side strain treatment is fairly straightforward.

Protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation (PRICE) is one of the most recommended approaches for the management of side stains. The aim is to minimize hemorrhage, swelling, inflammation and pain, to provide the best conditions for healing to take place.

  • Protection – protect the injured area from further injury – using a support bandage if appropriate
  • Rest – stop the activity that caused the injury, and rest the injured joint or muscle. Avoid activity for the first 48 to 72 hours after injury
  • Ice – for the first 48 to 72 hours after the injury, apply a cooling therapy like Physicool
  • Compression – compress or bandage the injured area to limit any swelling and movement that could damage it further
  • Elevation – keep the injured area raised and supported on a pillow to help reduce swelling

Physicool provides the key stages of PRICE in a single reusable bandage, providing protection, cooling and compression for the side strain to help the healing process. A Physicool bandage can be applied to the torso and the cooling effect recharged by spraying Physicool Coolant directly onto the bandage whilst it is in position.

Physicool is a unique cotton bandage impregnated with a patented liquid which draws heat away from the affected tissues by rapid evaporation. While the deep tissues are being cooled, the simultaneous compression effects of Physicool modify the inflammatory response to soft tissue damage which helps promote healing.

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